Living Room

written by:
photos by:
January 16, 2009
Originally published in Smaller is Smarter

When Im and David Schafer moved in together they faced the challenge of combining the contents of David’s 880-square-foot loft and Im’s 550-square-foot apartment into a one-room, 426-square-foot downtown loft.

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  Because their loft is a rental, David and Im Schafer built everything to be removable.
    Because their loft is a rental, David and Im Schafer built everything to be removable.
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  The Schafers consider their loft a work in progress. Says Im: "We thought about building a library ladder for the Wall of Storage, and we'd planned to build a catwalk out from our sleeping loft, with a desk—but decided it was too much structural engineering to concern ourselves with at this point."
    The Schafers consider their loft a work in progress. Says Im: "We thought about building a library ladder for the Wall of Storage, and we'd planned to build a catwalk out from our sleeping loft, with a desk—but decided it was too much structural engineering to concern ourselves with at this point."
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  At the table, a Todd Oldham for La-Z-Boy modular sofa serves triple duty as seating for work, dinner, and overnight guests.
    At the table, a Todd Oldham for La-Z-Boy modular sofa serves triple duty as seating for work, dinner, and overnight guests.
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  The Schafers' building, The Merrimac, built in 1999, is one of San Diego's first modern, mixed-use redevelopment projects.
    The Schafers' building, The Merrimac, built in 1999, is one of San Diego's first modern, mixed-use redevelopment projects.
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  The Schaffer's furniture includes an Eames Aluminum Group lounge chair ("and ottoman!" adds Im.) A coffee table made of glued, corrugated cardboard was the couple's first project together, when they met in college eight years ago.
    The Schaffer's furniture includes an Eames Aluminum Group lounge chair ("and ottoman!" adds Im.) A coffee table made of glued, corrugated cardboard was the couple's first project together, when they met in college eight years ago.
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  The stairway to the sleeping loft is a riff on a ship's ladder: "We spent a lot of time figuring out how much space we need to maneuver," says David. "It allowed us to make it as small and perfect as we wanted to." Instead of a handrail, sail cleats are bolted to the walls as hand-holds.
    The stairway to the sleeping loft is a riff on a ship's ladder: "We spent a lot of time figuring out how much space we need to maneuver," says David. "It allowed us to make it as small and perfect as we wanted to." Instead of a handrail, sail cleats are bolted to the walls as hand-holds.
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  In the bathroom, they did "basically surface things," says Im.
    In the bathroom, they did "basically surface things," says Im.
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  The kitchen shelves are organized with clinical precision.
    The kitchen shelves are organized with clinical precision.
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  The computer-designed kitchen area has the feel of a ship's galley, with everything neatly stowed, yet visible and instantly at hand: It's much the definition of "ship-shape." For dinner parties, well-worn Eames shell chairs are pulled down by David, with the help of a footstool. "I have nearly an eight-foot reach," says the 6'3'' David. ("It gets a little tough if I have to spend a weekend or so alone," says Im.)
    The computer-designed kitchen area has the feel of a ship's galley, with everything neatly stowed, yet visible and instantly at hand: It's much the definition of "ship-shape." For dinner parties, well-worn Eames shell chairs are pulled down by David, with the help of a footstool. "I have nearly an eight-foot reach," says the 6'3'' David. ("It gets a little tough if I have to spend a weekend or so alone," says Im.)
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  The Wall of Storage came after the couple moved in.
    The Wall of Storage came after the couple moved in.
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  Local sailboat shops wanted thousands to make the 13-by-13-foot curtain that hides the Wall of Storage. "We we called my parents in Bangkok, gave them the dimensions, and they got it made for 150 bucks." says Im.
    Local sailboat shops wanted thousands to make the 13-by-13-foot curtain that hides the Wall of Storage. "We we called my parents in Bangkok, gave them the dimensions, and they got it made for 150 bucks." says Im.
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